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María Martínez Cañas

Stones touch human beings because they suggest immortality, because they have survived the passing of time.

Different cultures throughout the world give Stones the attributes of magical powers, energy, luck, fertility and healing. Earth and Stone are two forms of the same material, symbolizing the same forces. Stones are also associated with childbirth. Prima Materia - the beginning. What is ironic about this body of work is that the Piedras series started after I had just found out that a dear friend was very sick with AIDS which opened the door to a whole range of emotions. I started thinking about vulnerability and the passing of time, about our existence and the human connections we experience in our lives. Around this time I traveled to England with some friends and visited Stonehenge, and was really moved by its power.

Monolithic monuments, inseparable from their sites and from their unknown history, they turn up alone in the most isolated areas. The single standing stone is probably the most difficult prehistoric artifact to identify and it is often impossible to tell whether they are ancient and in their original location. That uncertainty of not really knowing - the speculative history of the stones. They are creations of nature - witnesses of time.
I knew then, that I would make work dealing with the energy of that place and the energy that sustains us on a daily basis. This forced me to look to nature for inspiration - to deal with the present and my surroundings. The series Piedras started here.

Photographing in my yard or my garden - that need to return to nature and home. Allowing myself to work in a natural environment which would help me to confront issues of uncertainty and fear in a secure place known to me and that I could trust. The need to reconnect to a basic and more primitive form of creating an image drove me to start using the pinhole camera. The most primitive form of photographing. Again, the prima materia.

This series brings together all of these circumstances. I am fascinated by marks that signal the passage of time. Fossils represent years and years of information. I incorporated onion skins into the pieces to symbolize fossils, which erode and change over time. I used the stones to talk about destiny, roots, presence, lines, walls and impressions, which are all titles of images in the series. In one piece the stones create a barrier and in another they become objects linking one life form to another. I also combine each title with a number which reflects the identity of a friend. This allows me to pay tribute to specific people and honor the connections we have formed. I try to create images about the connections we have -- the connection with a person, a place or a feeling.

María Martínez Cañas

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